Date of Award

Summer 8-6-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Bonnie C. Nicholson

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Michael B. Madson

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Emily B. Yowell

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Richard S. Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated a significant increase in stress for parents with a child in active cancer treatment. As the number of children diagnosed with cancer continues to rise, there has been a call to identify factors that may contribute to positive outcomes in these families (e.g., Sloper, 2000; Streisand, Kazak, & Tercyak, 2003). Certain effective coping strategies, particularly related to more problem-focused forms of coping and hardiness, appear to be negatively related to parental stress. However, little is known about how these strategies may impact parental stress in families of children in active cancer treatment. The current study assessed the influence of coping and family hardiness on parental stress among parents of children in active cancer treatment. The study hypothesized that: higher levels of effective coping and hardiness will predict a significant amount of variance in parental stress after accounting for symptom severity; the effect of hardiness on parental stress will be attenuated after the addition of Coping I, Coping II, and Coping III in three separate regression models; and the parallel mediation model will partially mediate the relationship between hardiness and parental stress. Results did not support the hypothesis that family hardiness and coping would emerge as significant predictors of parental stress over and above symptom severity. Effective coping was not observed as a partial mediator in the relationship between family hardiness and parental stress. However, communication with other parents and consultation with the medical staff, was found to have a significant indirect relationship between family hardiness and parental stress. The current study provides further information on the enduring impact of symptom severity and the potential relationship between family hardiness, parental stress, and coping through communication with other parents and the medical staff.

Masters thesis: http://aquila.usm.edu/masters_theses/232/

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